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No Sale
October 5

There is nothing worse to the eyes of a game show fan than to see a planned revival go poorly. Pyramid is an ageless game and it was brought to its knees by a series of poor choices by the production company for the recent revival. Hollywood Squares excelled because the production team stuck by the original format; with what made the original so fun.

Sale of the Century is one of my favorite game shows of all time. Fast game play, variety in the questions and with the bargains, a tense ending with the speed round, and overall tension as a contestant gets closer and closer to their bonanza. Unfortunately for me, the show has been off the air for the last 18 years, but Australia has come to the rescue with their show Temptation. It is a revival of Sale of the Century, with all of the excitement and fun of the American original. Imagine then, my excitement that the U.S. would be getting its own version of the show for its very own.

After watching the "primetime special" that excitement was short-lived. Temptation is at its best a shell of the previous Sale. Sure, there are instant bargains to be bought (and they even resurrected instant cash), a speed round to determine the winner, and the winner uses her accumulated winnings to buy increasingly lavish prizes. (And yes, I meant to say "her," since most of the contestants on Temptation are female.)

But the producers have gotten far too many things wrong. Removing the Fame Game in favor of a fill-in puzzle and a Wipeout board means that many players leave with nothing more than "big hugs and lots of love" in the words of Rossi Morreale, the completely average host. The material is being written so that the lowest common denominator can play along. The 80's Sale wasn't a hotbed of academia, but they did occasionally dip into science or history books to draft questions. Not so on Temptation: recent "either-or" categories have asked players to determine whether a name is a meat or cheese, or a whether a title belonged to a television show or a magazine. The material is written to appeal to either a grade-school student, or someone who buries their nose in Us, People or In Touch weekly magazines.

But that's not even worst of all. On the original program, the winning contestant would take their final score, add that to any money won on previous episodes, and decide whether to buy something from the shopping room, or to come back for another episode. The risk was that a contestant who was defeated would lose that bank account, and not win any of those prizes on offer. The reward, of course, was that the biggest prizes on offer were a luxury car, a massive cash jackpot, or even all of the prizes and the cash jackpot. It's enough to give even the most mediocre of champions a thought.

Temptation stops at...a car. Now, don't get me wrong, I'd be happy to win a Jaguar, or a Toyota Prius, but the fact that there isn't an option to play for all of the prizes shows a basic lack of respect for the format. Worse yet is the five-win limit placed upon champions. That's right. Contestants have five days to rack up cash between the front game and the Super Knock Off bonus, and then that champ gets kicked to the curb. Part of the excitement of the original was seeing whether the champion would indeed win, and then with how much, and was it enough to reach the next prize.

At almost every juncture, the producers of Temptation have proved that they either don't care about the classic format, or that they actually think that their way is better.

It isn't. And it's not worth your time.

Travis Eberle can be reached at, if you want to reminisce about the good old days.